Press Release

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II


ACOG District II Awarded 1.8 Million Dollars
Has Plan to Reduce Number of NY Women Who Die in Pregnancy & Childbirth


Albany, NY - November 20, 2013 - The New York State Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG District II) has launched an effort to improve maternal health outcomes for women in New York State, in collaboration with Merck for Mothers, Merck’s initiative to create a world where no woman dies giving life. ACOG District II’s project, the Safe Motherhood Initiative (SMI), is made possible by a three year 1.8 million dollar grant from Merck for Mothers.

According to Amnesty International, New York State ranks 47th in the country for its maternal mortality rate. In 2009, the maternal mortality rate in New York State was 20.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. This rate far exceeds the established Healthy People 2020 goal for the state of 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. For three tragic examples of NY women who became victims of maternal mortality,
click here.

“We are working with more than 10,000 healthcare providers and 130 birthing facilities in New York State to make changes that will save lives,” said Donna Montalto, MPP, Executive Director of ACOG District II. “The plan is to develop and implement standard approaches for handling the three leading causes of maternal death: obstetric hemorrhage (severe bleeding), venous thromboembolism (blood clots), and severe hypertension (high blood pressure).”

Evidence-based literature has demonstrated that many causes of these potentially fatal obstetric events are the result of systematic problems with care coordination and delivery.

“Our goal is for obstetric providers to adopt uniform clinical protocols to improve the diagnosis, prevention, and management of such emergencies and reduce the incidence of death,” said Montalto.

ACOG District II is providing SMI “maternal safety bundles” to labor and delivery teams which include standardized protocols and other clinical tools such as algorithms, on-site learning sessions, regional teaching days, and web conferences. At the end of three years, birthing facilities will be recognized as a “Safe Motherhood” institution should they meet specific implementation requirements and collect quality measures to reduce adverse outcomes associated with obstetric emergencies.

“We are proud to work with ACOG District II to address critical gaps in maternal healthcare to help ensure women have safe and healthy pregnancies and childbirths,” said Naveen Rao, M.D., lead, Merck for Mothers. “In the rest of the world, rates of maternal mortality are decreasing, but unfortunately, here in the U.S. the rates are on the rise.”

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About ACOG District II
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II (ACOG) represents the board certified obstetrician-gynecologists in the state who deliver health care to New York's women. Our Albany office offers the New York State Legislature its resources as a scientific and educational organization dedicated to quality health care for women. Our commitment to professional excellence, combined with our choice to be a strong public advocate for women, has made ACOG one of the state’s most trusted and credible voices on all aspects of female health care. Contact ACOG District II: (518) 436-3461

About Merck for Mothers
Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman dies giving life. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise – as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges – to reduce maternal mortality around the world. Merck for Mothers is focused on access to quality care, product innovation, and awareness and advocacy. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook.


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998